VOLVO XC60 DIESEL REVIEW
Vehicle Style: Premium SUV
Fuel Economy (claimed): 6.9 l/100 km
Fuel Economy (tested): 8.5 l/100 km
It’s got both the clearance and surefootedness to get some way off the beaten track, and the torque to handle a hefty load in tow, but Volvo’s swift XC60 D5 is a model of urban perfection.
As of mid-2011, the XC60 benefits from revisions to its D5 engine that provide a boost to power and torque, while also lowering fuel consumption.
That fuel figure allows a Luxury Car Tax exemption for the D5, making the diesel model a positive value leader in the XC60 range.
Quality: Hard to find a debit point in the XC60’s interior with high-quality textured plastics, plenty of soft-touch surfaces and lounge-like leather.
Anything that needs to be grabbed, moved, pressed or slid has a firm and precise feel - dash controls are simply top-notch.
The contemporary design and solidity of the cabin conveys a sense of premium quality. Unfortunately, the clunky-to-use sat nav drags things down. On two occasions on test the navigation quadrupled the route distance.
Comfort: Settling comfortably into the sumptuous electrically-adjustable (front) leather seats of the XC60 is a breeze.
Rear seats aren’t quite as accommodating, with short thigh support and an upright backrest that can’t be reclined. Topped off with a high window line, the rear is a less entertaining ride for the kids.
On the plus side, built-in rear booster seats, face-level air vents in the B-pillars, combined with healthy head and leg-room, means the rear row is ok for either adults or kids.
Equipment: As a mid-range model in the XC60 range, the Teknik comes loaded. It features powered leather seats, dual-zone climate control, multi-media system incorporating USB and aux in, CD player, satellite navigation with traffic updates, eight-speaker audio and rear view camera.
There’s also 17-inch alloy wheels, powered tailgate, rain-sensing wipers, brushed aluminium interior trim and more (as detailed in safety, see below)
Storage: With a combination of large door bins, a big glovebox, lidded cupholders, a roomy centre console and the space behind the floating centre-stack, there’s no shortage of oddments storage throughout the cabin.
Rear cargo space measures 490 litres, not altogether bad taking the XC60’s swoopy styling into account. The rear seats fold flat for added space and the wheel arches barely intrude, however the high boot floor makes loading heavy items a chore.
ON THE ROAD
Driveability: Volvo is hanging onto a somewhat unusual in-line five cylinder engine configuration, and to great effect in the case of the XC60 D5.
From 2.4 litres the twin-turbo diesel pushes out 158kW @ 4,000 rpm and a hefty 440Nm of torque from 1,500 to 3,000 rpm
Around town, the ability to tap into that torque band means the Volvo has little trouble shifting its weight.
From a standstill, the engine takes a moment to overcome turbo lag and then surges forward in a continuous stream, with no perceptible gap in power delivery from the sequential turbo setup.
On the open road the story is the same. Up hill, fully loaded, or overtaking, the quick revving and torque-laden diesel offers petrol-like driveability with a distinctive five-cylinder sound track.
Refinement: There’s the trademark diesel rattle from outside the cabin, but inside the XC60 things are as smooth and quiet as any premium sedan.
Even into the upper rev range, the D5 engine remains smooth and balanced and, at work, develops an entertaining, throaty growl.
Volvo’s six-speed geartronic automatic is another smooth operator, never hunting for the correct gear and always providing smooth shifts. Tyre noise is a little raucous at speed, but wind noise remains well suppressed.
Suspension: Volvo has managed to deliver impressive comfort with the suspension tuning of the XC60. It has no trouble blotting up big highway hits, jagged pavement and juddering gravel tracks without unsettling occupants.
The front strut and independent rear suspension allows some body-roll through corners but is otherwise flat and composed.
Braking: Four-wheel disc brakes, with vented front-rotors provide powerful stopping power, with ABS tuning that is also well suited to gravel stops. Without being too firm, the pedal is progressive and reassuring underfoot.
ANCAP rating: Five stars. (Euro NCAP result)
Safety features: Head, curtain and front side-airbags, Dynamic Stability and Traction Control, Roll Stability Control, ABS brakes featuring Emergency Brake Assist linked to adaptive brake lights, Active Bending headlamps, integrated booster seats, load limiting seat belt pretensioners and head restraints in all positions.
Volvo’s pioneering City Safety is also included as standard across the XC60 range, monitoring the road ahead and applying the brakes to avoid or lessen an impact with other traffic at speeds below 30 km/h.
WARRANTY AND SERVICING
Warranty: Three years, including roadside assistance.
Service costs: Service intervals occur every 15,000km/12 months.
Service costs are not provided by Volvo Australia. Before purchase, check with your Volvo dealer.
HOW IT COMPARES | VALUE FOR MONEY
BMW X3 xDrive 20d ($62,200) - Close in specification, but with less power, and although not short of safety equipment, BMW’s X3 can’t match the XC60’s features. The BMW is dynamically superior, but at the slight expense of overall comfort. (see X3 reviews)
Audi Q5 Quattro 2.0TDI ($62,200) - Refined and sedan-like in its on road behavior, the Q5 provides a fantastic interior. The least power and torque in this comparison, and claimed fuel consumption is only 0.1 l/100 km better than the D5. (see Q5 reviews)
Ford Territory Titanium 2.7DT ($63,240) - It sits under the price of the XC60, but the Territory provides more space, seating for seven and has a larger six-cylinder diesel that matches the D5 for torque but trails it for power. Thanks to its Aussie development it provides the best ride and handling on varied Australian roads. (see Territory reviews)
Note: all prices are Manufacturer’s List Price (unless otherwise noted) and do not include dealer delivery or on-road costs.
TMR VERDICT | OVERALL
With its strong focus on safety, the XC60 appeals to the sensible side, while not compromising on style and comfort.
Away from city streets, the XC60 proves its mettle with comfortable highway travel for both front and rear passengers.
The value equation looks a little uneven at first glance, but, for the added cost, the XC60 D5 provides a healthy equipment and safety list, a strong diesel, and rewarding on-road behaviour. It’s got a premium feel and is quite an enjoyable car - it won’t disappoint you.